Bill boosts county transit funding in Georgia

A bill introduced in the state House would allow counties to pass transit taxes for up to 20 years.

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A bill introduced in the state House would allow counties to pass transit taxes for up to 20 years.

Legislation introduced in the state House on Thursday would allow counties to levy a sales tax for transit for up to 20 years without approval from lawmakers.

House Bill 134, sponsored by Rep. Bubber Epps, R-Dry Branch, continues current law that allows counties to enact up to 1 percent in transportation special purpose local option sales taxes (known as TSPLOST).

Rep. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, the top co-sponsor of the bill, said the Association County Commissioners of Georgia support the bill and that leaders of his county, Gwinnett, are also interested.

Allowing transit taxes to run past five years helps counties attract lower bond rates and to attract federal matching funds. Federal agencies typically require funding commitments longer than five years.

Counties could split that 1 percent between transit and traditional infrastructure taxes, but the tax for roads and bridges would expire after five years. The transit portion could last for as long as 20 years.

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